The relationship between the community and local law enforcement is a necessary step toward healing the city, the congressman said.
The day before Rep. Lacy Clay was set to eulogize constituent Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, the lawmaker reflected on the community's future.
Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation this week, Clay said that the first step toward healing involves improving police-community relations and a frank discussion about how local law enforcement treats the city's majority Black population. Brown's death put a spotlight on the conflict, but the problem has existed for years, African-Americans in Ferguson contend.
"These people were sworn to serve and protect, and apparently, that’s not happening here. And so we have to change that dynamic," the congressman said. "I think that police should be required to wear body cameras. I think that each car, each police car should be equipped with a camera so that when incidents like this occur in the future, there is no dispute; it’s on tape. And then we, then we can sort out the evidence in a clear way."
On Sunday, Brown's parents, still visibly stunned by the loss of their child, called for calm and peace on the day they lay him to rest. Clay predicted that their request would be honored, but expressed concern that violent protests could resume if justice is not properly served in the investigation into the shooting.
"I'm more concerned if we do not get to the truth and get to what actually happened, and bring justice to this situation, then there is going to be a problem in the streets," he said.
Clay also said he made a promise to Brown's parents that "I would do everything to bring all of the resources of the federal government to this investigation so that it's transparent, so that it's a viable investigation and we get to the truth."
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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